Kelly’s Great Big Distraction List!
June is nearly over and I needed to get a post on the map. I can’t leave a gaping hole in the sidebar – even if mother nature has decided not to bring any summer to Seattle until nearly July. I’d obsess about my missing month of June for the rest of the year and we can’t be having that.
In terms of actual writing, I edited up to and some of Chapter 3 in Wishful Thinking. Passed it to my beta/husband/amazing guy and he gave me some great feedback. I’m waiting until the next chapter to see if he still thinks the same way about one of the characters. In the meantime, I’ve been writing new ideas in the “idea file” for future use. How fun it would be if I could mix the ideas up.
I’ve also dabbled with writing by the seat of my pants – no outline, no plan. Just a story I’ve started and will keep going until I see where it wants to go. If nothing else, it’s consistent writing and flexing the spontaneous muscle I let stiffen up most of the time.
But enough of the stuff I’ve done that counts as productivity – the fun stuff was, well, fun. And needed. Started the month off with a good dose of camping fun. This year, I’ve learned that late spring/early summer is just too volatile for tent camping out here. So off I went to a heated cabin with a futon bed and table/chair set. Oh, and electricity. That’s a must.
Dance recitals, end of school year activities, planting/gardening, Alan Wake for the XBox 360, way too many blogs to follow, IronMan2, Green Day:Rock Band…. it’s been a fun month. A nice break.
Now, bring on the summer. I’ll be writing out in the sun.
I’ve been hard at work trying to get Chapter One into a decent enough shape to be finally beta read. I let the earlier incarnation out to a few folks and I admit, I cringe at the words on the paper. The gist of the story was there, I suppose, but it was in a very rough shape. The latest draft reads much better; not quite diamond, more like cubic zirconia. It’s getting there. I can say that now after a couple of frustrating days.
It’s been two weeks since I got down into no holds barred editing. I’m somewhat surprised at how long one scene took me to get right but I suppose it’s because it was further than the others at getting my character’s point across. I have to keep in mind, when I’m trying to rush through, that the process takes as long as it takes. Good practice for when I’m looking at a nth revision I’ve been asked to do.
What I’m loving is getting all the details in the right place, something I wasn’t so great at the first pass through. I know it’s because I didn’t have all the details to begin with (you’d think these characters would clue me in or what not) but it’s still fun making things click – even for the author!
So, yeay, Chapter One is done and I’ll be foisting it on my unsuspecting victims betas soon. Unfortunately for the husband, he’s really good at being a beta and has no idea about 8,300 words are heading his way. He also doesn’t spare my feelings at all and has no qualms about telling me when something doesn’t work without needing to use the sandwich method. I think that makes me lucky 🙂
I’ve also been paying attention to the music I listen to (either in my head or through my speakers) when I edit a chapter. Chapter One has been brought to you by the oh, so appropriate song Redundant by Green Day.
While trying to accumulate as much gold as possible in a video game I’m playing, I started wondering about some of the characters I’d passed along the journey. Some tragic things had happened to my main playable character and one event in particular had me thinking. See, while my main character’s storyline is mostly set in the lore of the game, there is very little mentioned about what happens to the lesser known characters I’ve encountered. I’m not all that interested in the main events because (while somewhat flimsy), I get to find out plenty.
What I’m more interested in is what happened to the obscure characters, the ones who seemed to have more of a story than what was told, if any of their story was told at all. I want to know about what affects the main story has on them, what happens to them. Of course, it occurred to me that I could find out. I could craft the obscure character and let him tell me what happened. So far, he’s quite interesting. I want to know more, I need to see what makes him work, what makes him run. Along the way, I’ll lob some more defeating events his way and see how he deals. If he can manage to get to adolescence after being taking away from his mother who was off saving the world, I think he’s got something going.
The same goes for Wishful Thinking. My need to delve into the obscure led me to wonder about lesser known mythological beings. I hear over and over how Greek mythology stories are overdone. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. Maybe it’s because the major players got too much air time. I don’t care all that much about the Olympians, in my novel they are peripheral. I care about the overshadowed immortals, the ones whose stories weren’t deemed all that important to focus on.
So many people work magic behind the scenes, overshadowed but content to be doing what they love. They have important stories to share, they are interesting people…we just need to be willing to listen to what they have to say. In our world, or someone else’s. I’m going to hop on and go along on this boy’s ride; I think he has something special to say.
Right now, I am looking at a sky similar to the one in this picture. The missing objects are the beautiful sunflowers at ground level. Instead, I get blown over brand new patio furniture and gratitude at not purchasing mulch yesterday at the home improvement store. Otherwise, my neighbor’s yards would be looking fantastic and I’d be out some $200 easy. Ah, fickle mother nature. Spring here in the Pacific Northwest can take you on an interesting ride. After five plus years though, I’ve proven I can be taught – no mulching and no patio umbrellas until after the 15th of May.
Another interesting tidbit about greenery out here in the Cascade foothills – yup, we’ve got plenty of it but if you want the edible kind, you have to be patient. A handful of 65 degree days does not mean it’s a good idea to get a jump start on the peppers (learned that last year). I am tempting fate by putting in two tester cherry tomato plants (not even going to try the full size and pull the rest of my hair out). Just two days ago, we were treated to a nice hailstorm which would’ve crushed my seedlings flat. So I wait. I like fresh beans far too much to risk them.
Speaking of waiting, still doing that with Wishful Thinking. Letting a novel sit for a little while before diving back in to edit is just like waiting for the last little bit of foothills weather to clear on out before risking tender plants. Too soon, you might have to start all over again and waste whatever time you might have gained. Far too inefficient a plan for me, so as much as my impatience is beginning to take over, I’m holding out.
May Day is right around the corner.
~ Found a card game for the iPad which not only has my best scores, but registers daily best scores against other players as well as weekly and monthly. The uber competitive soul in me has been trying to crack the top 50 all weekend. Getting 2nd place right after server reset doesn’t count.
~ Even though it’s too early for beans, peppers, cucumbers; it’s not too early for lettuce, broccoli, and dill so those went into the ground yesterday. I am so glad I went with a raised bed garden. For one, there is no way I can get anything as sensitive as vegetables to grow in the rock that is my yard. For two, heat tends to get trapped earlier in a raised bed and I can fudge the sowing dates for some herbs. I’ve had parsley growing since January 🙂
I’ve decided May Day is the perfect day to start editing Wishful Thinking and I’m excited to get there. In the meantime, I’ve been working through my “pile” of books. Couple hardcovers, handful through Kindle, a paperback or two. Now, I realize I can’t get through all of them before May. I’m speedy, but not that speedy. *shrug* A dent is better than nothing.
Currently reading: The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand – my inspiration for today’s picture. Howard Roark is a fascinating, intriguing character who is unlike most protagonists I’ve ever read and I’m hoping Keating gets stuffed. The little sympathy I had for him is dwindling with every impulsive move he makes. I’m not surprised at my liking this book; the author and the protagonist are both INTJs. Different.
What I’ve noticed from a writing perspective is, after writing third person limited, the omniscient point of view is strange to me. It never used to be. I also never used to read and study setting, narrative, or internal dialogue either. Sometimes, reading as a writer is distracting and I have to work at it. Frustrating because first and foremost, I read for pleasure. Could be a sign I’m not as enmeshed in the book as I should be, could be I need to take off the writing hat when I’m not working on critiques or writing related work. Whatever the cause, once I figure out a flow, I hope to be able to switch in and out at will. A necessity because there are some great books coming out over the summer.
~ Why yes, I’m looking forward to the teen getting her driver’s license. It’s inevitable anyway and then I can send her out for the dinner ingredient I seem to always forget to order….
~ New short story in progress: 836 words written about three teenage mages who think they know more than they do and their insistence gets them into trouble. Sub out mages and this story is about every teenager who ever lived. I only wish I had magic back then, think of how fun that could’ve been.
This past weekend, I finished the first rewrite of Wishful Thinking. Five minutes after, a funny thought occurred to me: I couldn’t wait to go back and reread it from the beginning. And I wanted to do that right then.
I wrote this for the first time during the 2009 NaNoWriMo, the idea one I’d been kicking around for months before. I wrote somewhat faithfully to the first outline I drafted in October and breezed through the first draft. I even hit my 50k words well before the November 30th deadline. Still, I worked on, reaching The End in December at 63k.
Took the draft with me on the plane heading east for the holidays. Read the first chapter and realized it all sucked. Really bad. The climax scene was anything but. I know the common rule is to read from page one until the last without editing but I couldn’t imagine wasting several hours on something I was going to rip to shreds.
So I didn’t. I put the manuscript away for almost all of January. When I came back to it, I grabbed the first chapter and pulled out what I liked. The plot had changed dramatically so chapter two was a goner. Unfortunately, so was chapter three, most of four, all of… well the rest. I think out of the first edition, I’ve kept about 20k words. Even that might be a stretch.
At the least, I’ve learned I’m fairly detached from my work. I’ve learned lots more stuff too and will chat about it in the coming days when I’m trying not to go back in and peek. I’m not sure what my reaction is going to be when I reread in a couple of weeks, but I know this plot is stronger and more interesting the way I’ve rewritten it. Lasting a couple of weeks is going to be the hard part.
~ I was a laser-guided missile the last several days. The three loads of washed and dried laundry in piles on my bed can attest to it. As can the receipts scattered on the counter from a take-out/eat-out frenzy. As can children who look at me and say, mommy? Well, not really, they all still remember me, but I holed up as much as I could and cranked out the last 4k words.
~ 75,471 words, the majority fresh. Which means for Wishful Thinking, I’ve written at least 130k words. Letting that sink in.
Photo courtesy of Francesco Marino
Kelly Lyman at Kelly’s Compositions is hosting a First Page Blogfest and I’d hoped to squeeze in right at the deadline. This entry is from my wip, Wishful Thinking, which has three scenes to go.
Aurelie scanned the sides of the road stretching before her, seeking the perfect tree. Only the best would do. A stout tree for hand-crafted Aston Martins weren’t made of fiberglass and spit. She needed elegant. Evergreen. She wrapped her slender fingers around the leather steering wheel, feeling the powerful engine purr as she accelerated. The DB9 handled like no other car. A pity it needed to be sacrificed.
The swick-flick of windshield wipers brushing away steady raindrops did not distract from her task. Her focus rested entirely on her mission. She wondered, when the end came, if it would hurt, if she would feel any pain. That was partly why she wanted a big tree. Aurelie didn’t want to linger in agony, hovering between life and death for a minute longer than necessary. Just get it over with.
A glance at the speedometer showed her cruising at forty miles per hour. A little slow for that stretch of road if anyone else joined her. So far, Aurelie had encountered only oncoming traffic and even those instances had been sporadic. Rush hour and its relentless traffic had been long gone, those worker bees tucked into bed with their night lights on. Where Aurelie drove, closer to the mountains, the road wound through miles of pine trees interspersed with open plats. Two lanes of meandering asphalt ferrying the souls who desired gainful employment in the bigger cities without sacrificing aesthetics. She wondered whether they realized how much of their souls had been traded long ago, how much informed consent they had given.